Imagine seeing a shipwreck in its entirety in full detail with artifacts in place and see exactly how the wreck sits on the bottom. Imagine doing that from home before you dive and sharing your favorite dive site with family and friends that are non-divers or take them on a virtual dive with you. This is all possible through photogrammetry.
Photogrammetry is the process of collecting a series of still images or video of an object such as a shipwreck and then inputting those images (usually thousands) into software that can triangulate the photographed points to create a 3D model. There are a lot of real-world applications to this technology including architecture, engineering, forensics, archeology, mapping and video games.
We like technology and pushing ourselves to experiment and try new techniques underwater. Becky started making photogrammetry models in 2020 first on land and then in the local quarry to experiment with different lighting techniques. After that she began to scan shipwrecks such as the Sandusky, Chisholm and Cornelia B. Windiate in the Great lakes and accomplished shooting the first model of the Sidewheel Steamer Detroit in over 200 feet of icy cold water in the summer of 2022. In the past few years Becky has scanned different subjects underwater from a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress in Croatia, to reefs in Bonaire, trucks, cranes, planes and inside shipwrecks. Each model is unique and requires a different approach to be successful.
Many of the dives encompass years of technical diving experience in cold water, rebreather and mixed gases and experience with a camera. What’s exciting about producing this is that divers and non-divers can do a virtual dive on the wreck. It can be explored with VR goggles or just on a phone or laptop. We can see the wreck in its entirety.
Photogrammetry can also be used to monitor shipwrecks over time and see changes. Lastly, We are now able to hold a 3D printed replica in your hands! David Schott has been working with me to take the models and 3D print them. This process can take another 3-4 days but going from diving on an actual wreck to holding it is very rewarding and such an amazing way to bring shipwrecks to life and share their stories with everyone.
Becky has been invited to present at forensics symposiums and her photogrammetry has been used for art exhibits, aquariums and her photogrammetry models are being used at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum exhibit “Bringing Shipwrecks to Life” allowing the public to explore the wrecks on screens to seeing them 3D printed inside display cases.